IUOE Responds to Pipeline Cancellation

The following statement regarding the decision by TransCanada to shelve the Energy East Pipeline Project was released Oct. 5 by the Canadian office of the International Union of Operating Engineers.

“The Energy East Pipeline is a nation building project. Its cancellation is a huge loss of opportunity for Canada and our country’s highly skilled tradespeople who would have built this pipeline. A true opportunity squandered.”  – Lionel Railton, Canadian Director of the IUOE.

The International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) expresses great disappointment with the announcement of the cancellation of the proposed Energy East Pipeline. Despite TransCanada’s significant investment in this project, the combination of changing market conditions and an uncertain National Energy Board (NEB) regulatory approval process have impacted the viability of the Energy East Pipeline Project. 

TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline would have safely transported Canadian bitumen over 4,500 kilometres from Western Canada to refineries and port terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. This project would have offered significant social and economic benefits to Canadians across all provinces and territories. As a nation building project, the Energy East Pipeline would provide energy independence for Canada and would not only have allowed Canada to get market access for its natural resources, but also curb the importation and use of foreign oil by Canadian customers.

Most importantly, the Energy East Pipeline would have created tens of thousands of good, high paying jobs for Canadians. Upwards of 14,000 full-time jobs would have been open to Canadian workers over the course of the project’s seven-year construction and development phase. For young people starting a career in the trades, this project would have represented a fantastic opportunity for developing their much needed skills. 

Local communities across Canada, including First Nations and Métis communities, would have seen significant new economic opportunities become available with the employment of local people from their communities. This would have had a huge positive impact on many areas of the country, particularly in Northern Ontario and New Brunswick, which have been severely hurt by years of economic decline and slow job growth.

Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between TransCanada and the Pipe Line Contractors Association of Canada, the IUOE would have participated in building the Energy East Pipeline. A project which would have been built to the highest safety and environmental standards. The signing of the MOU demonstrated TransCanada’s commitment to employing Canadian contractors, First Nations and the highly skilled men and women of the Building Trades. 

Our members have safely built nearly all NEB approved pipelines over the past 60 years. When we build and maintain pipelines, they are built right, built safe, and built to last. In keeping with our long and proud history of pipeline construction, our various Locals across Canada invested significantly to upgrade and enhance capacity in our training facilities to ensure the next generation of skilled tradespeople were available and ready to work on Energy East. We look forward to working with TransCanada and the federal government to find employment through Project Labour Agreements on other pipelines, specifically Keystone XL.

The Energy East Pipeline would have supported Canadian tradespeople and Canadian communities across the country. Highly trained and skilled men and women are committed to building these state-of-the-art pipelines. Energy East Pipeline Project cancellation is a huge setback for them, and for all Canadians, in particular to the province of New Brunswick who will be devastated by this announcement. This is a very sad day for Canada.